Parenting Interactions with Children: Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes

Please note that this tool is proprietary and may only be obtained by contacting the creators of the tool below. PerformWell cannot make this tool available in ETO.

PICCOLO, Parenting Interactions with Children: Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes, is an observational parenting measure developed for practitioners. It is an observational tool designed to measure positive parenting behaviors as parents interact with their toddlers 1 through 3 years old. The measure includes 29 items organized by four domains: (1) Affection (7 items), (2) Responsiveness (7 items), (3) Encouragement of Autonomy (7 items), and (4) Teaching (8 items). The authors recommend administering the PICCOLO with videotaped parent-child interactions, particularly for research use, although it may be administered “live” with parents and toddlers. The authors also recommend that parents and toddlers interact with stimulating materials (e.g., books, puzzles, pretend-play toys) during the observation. The PICCOLO may be incorporated into observations of family routines or planned home visit activities.

Click here for more information about the PICCOLO tool.


Administration Method
Number of Questions
Creator(s) of Tool
Authors: Lori Roggman, Gina Cook, Mark Innocenti, Vonda Jump Norman, and Katie Christiansen

Roggman, L. A., Cook, G. A., Innocenti, M.S., Jump Norman, V. K., & Christiansen, K. (2009). PICCOLO (Parenting Interactions With Children:
Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes) user’s guide. Logan, UT:
Utah State University.

Information about the PICCOLO too is available at:
Scoring / Benchmarking
Methods of Scoring: Each item is scored as 0 = absent (behavior not observed), 1 = barely (brief, minor, or emerging behavior observed), or 2 = clearly (definite, strong, or frequent behavior observed). Assessors add scores for each item to calculate a domain score. No overall score is calculated.

Interpretability: The authors provide a scoring grid that may be used to interpret domain scores by age. The grid summarizes scores indicative of high risk, moderate risk, and strength (e.g., low/no risk) for each domain such that risk corresponds to suboptimal toddler development. The scoring grid is helpful for identifying families’ strengths and areas that need improvement.
Background / Quality
According to the website, to develop PICCOLO, the project used an archive of over 2000+ existing videotapes of parent-child interactions, along with outcome data on the children, from the national Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project. The 4 domains included in the PICCOLO parenting measure were selected based on reliability, validity analyses, and feedback from coders and practitioners. PICCOLO has been field tested with the Bear River Head Start, the Davis Early Head Start, and Guadalupe Schools Early Childhood Program to evaluate the usefulness of the measure for practitioners.
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